Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The MAX Challenge: Taking MAX to the Max!

I love TriMet's MAX. I ride it whenever I have the opportunity. I took it to work the past few months before school was out, I take it when we hang out downtown, and I have taken it many times to visit my parents in Beaverton. We live so close to it that it is easily the most advantageous form of transportation available to us.

When riding, I sometimes wonder about whether or not anyone has ever attempted to ride all of the MAX lines at one time. It seems very unlikely. I calculated that it would take more than 6.25 hours to complete this feat...a goal that most Portlanders would shake their head at.

But not me. I will take the MAX to the max.* I will attempt...
The MAX Challenge!

Here is the plan:

It is more complicated than it seems: I can't just ride all of the lines from end to end. I must ride them in a particular way so that I roll over every bit of track that is being used. Naturally, there will be many transfers along the way. So I'll have to bring enough reading material and music to keep me busy. Below is the line/transfer schedule, starting at the station closest to home...

E 148th Ave to Gresham (Blue line; 15 min)
Gresham to PDX Int'l Airport (Blue to Red line, transfer at Gateway TC; 50 min)
PDX Int'l Airport to Hillsboro (Red to Blue line, transfer at Beaverton TC; 1 hr 40 min)
Hillsboro to PSU (transfer from Blue line at Mall/SW 4th Ave to Yellow line at Pioneer Place/SW 5th Ave; 1 hr 10 min)
PSU to Expo Center (Yellow line; 35 min)
Expo Center to Pioneer Place/SW 5th Ave (transfer from Yellow to Blue line at Mall/SW 4th Ave; 30 min)
Mall/SW 4th Ave to Clackamas Town Center (Blue to Green line, transfer at Gateway TC; 45 min)
Clackamas Town Center to E 148th Ave (Green to Blue line, transfer at Gateway TC; 30 min)

Total time: 6 hours, 15 minutes (approximately)

Click to see map details

I'm planning on attempting the MAX Challenge on a weekday. The reason for this is because I don't think my wife would ever go with me and I don't want to waste a precious day away from her over the weekend. If you are crazy enough to go with me during the week, then let me know! I'd love the company!

Stay tuned for a post following the big event!

This video was taken by the big nerd that I am, when the new Type 4 MAX trains were starting test runs a year and a half ago.

*"Take the MAX to the max" quote coined by Weston Ruter, a fellow Gwinn Challenge participant, TriMet enthusiast, and friend.

MAX Challenge Success!